Anyone who's been following the tech press over the past year or so will know that the DRAM market is a bad place to be right now. Market research firm iSuppli has put the fourth quarter of last year into numbers, and things still look pretty rough for memory makers. According to iSuppli, global DRAM revenue dropped 19% from $7.97 billion in the third quarter to $6.5 billion in the fourth, and sales went down a staggering 40% compared to the fourth quarter of 2006. As a result, all of the top 10 DRAM manufacturers suffered drops in revenue, and the industry saw an aggregate operating loss of nearly $3 billion.
iSuppli concludes that conditions in the DRAM market last quarter were "far worse than predicted," and it puts the blame on the decline in average selling prices. Indeed, compared to the third quarter, average DRAM memory prices in the fourth quarter were down 31%. ASPs do seem to be on the rise again this quarter, though, with prices for 512Mb and 1Gb DDR2 chips having recently climbed back over $1 and $2, respectively.
In terms of revenue share, iSuppli ranks Samsung as number one, with its Korean counterpart Hynix second, Japanese memory maker Elpida third, Germany's Qimonda fourth, and U.S.-based Micron in fifth place. Elpida managed to do best last quarter with the smallest revenue drop (10.8%), while Samsung saw a 12.3% drop, Micron's revenue dipped 12.6%, Qimonda's went down 23.6%, and Hynix saw the biggest decrease by far—a whopping 33.2%.
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